Mazda CX-3 2017 review
One of Mazda's biggest successes of recent years is the diminutive CX-3, which launched to a rapturous reception in 2015. Will the 2017 update boost it further?
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Scoring a decent parking spot - or anywhere to park at all - is a perennial point of pain for me, and one that every city dweller is all too horribly familiar with.
Whether it's battling for an empty bay at the local shopping centre or fighting for space at a Saturday sports ground, there just never seem to be enough to go around. It's easy to see how this daily grind could turn perfectly sane people into beetroot-faced road ragers. With cars seemingly getting ever larger and parking spots failing to keep up, something surely has to give.
Fortunately, I might have found a potential, or at least partial solution. Enter the 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX.
Small is an attribute Suzuki has long embraced, with models like the Baleno and Vitara and the Ignis takes downsizing to a whole new level. Classified as a small SUV, at just 3,700mm long and a narrow 1,660mm wide, the Suzuki Ignis GLX seems to challenge the very definition of what a sports utility vehicle is.
In keeping with the small theme, Suzuki offers only two trim levels in the range, the entry level GL (from an also very small $16,990) and the GLX (from $19,990). Both use the same 66kW 1.2-litre four DualJet engine and are front-wheel drive. The base model Ignis comes with a manual gearbox or continuously variable transmission (CVT) for an extra $1000.
With its hatch-like appearance and fresh and funky design it looks more fun than functional. So can it really be considered an SUV? My three kids and I had the weekend to find out.
Eye-catching designs are not exactly a hallmark of the small SUV segment, but this is something Suzuki is clearly trying to rectify with this next-generation Ignis.
The words cute and quirky come to mind when setting eyes on this car for the first time, it's certainly anything but boring and is a style stand out at this price range. Funky shapes and distinctive colour treatments suggest a car with a cheeky swagger and a character to soften even the hardest of hearts.
The front-end LED driving lights, integrate into the headlights and bordered by a cool ‘Flame Orange' trim, were a favourite design feature. Thanks to the wide array of trim options it's possible to spec this grille and headlight combo to suit your tastes.
Getting into the Ignis we were immediately struck by the surprising amount of cabin space. Headroom and legroom are plentiful, so much so that I almost had to do a double take. I'm 180cm tall and had oodles of headroom in the front seat, and while sitting in the back seat behind my own driving position the generous space in front of my knees was equally unexpected.
The Ignis is classed as a four seater, which doesn't exactly scream ‘utility vehicle', nevertheless it's going to have to make do as the family hauler for the weekend.
My son's football match was the first destination on Saturday's schedule. The football park is situated on a main road so my expectations of finding a space nearby were rock bottom. Upon arriving I spotted a rock-star park adjacent to the field but it was tiny – no chance, surely. Deciding to give the Ignis the benefit of the doubt I tried for it anyway, and its tiny dimensions fit perfectly. Cue a look of smug satisfaction on my face.
As far as SUV-levels of practicality go, the GLX doesn't do too badly, considering its size. The rear seats can slide forward to allow for more boot space (264 litres with seats up / 516 litres with them folded down) or back for extra leg space. Without passengers aboard, they can also be inclined to stand vertically, allowing boxes and the like to be more easily carried. Clever.
Storage space consists of a small glove box and a decent size hidey hole under the air con controls for the mobile phone. Due to its narrow size, the Ignis forgoes a centre-console bin. There are two cup holders side by side in front of the gear shifter, a single cup holder for rear seaters to share and bottle holders in each of the four doors.
We left soccer victorious and headed to the local netball park for my daughter's game. This particular park features 50 netball courts and provides off-street parking for a lucky few with the remainder battling it out for spots on the surrounding streets.
After my earlier parking success I felt this would be a happy hunting ground for the Ignis and immediately discovered a prime parking spot so small other cars weren't even bothering to try. I had no such qualms with the Ignis and rock-star park number two for the morning was secured. Result.
The rest of the day was spent bouncing around the local burbs running errands. It's here that the Ignis really thrives. With its four-cylinder naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine shifting a relatively light 865kg of weight this Ignis is actually quite a bit of fun to drive.
The ride on the GLX's 16-inch alloy wheels (GL comes with 15-inch steel rims) is also quite comfortable. The front suspension in particular soaks up bumps well, the rear less so, yet it still does an admirable job for a car of this size.
There was less work for the Ignis today, other than shopping and a trip to the park to take advantage of the ridiculously warm winter weather.
Its 0-100km/h times won't set any pulses racing, yet the Suzuki has plenty of pep at low speeds, particularly around town, bounding between traffic lights or cruising the back streets. The familiar drone of the CVT becomes noticeable when accelerating at higher speeds but the noise never becomes too intrusive. The GLX comes with an optimistic ‘Sport' button that offers little extra other than revving the engine higher, basically making it noisier, but not much faster.
The local Woolies was one of first stops of the day, and it's normally a hated place, with its cramped carpark containing an exclusive number of ‘small car' dedicated parking bays adjacent to the entrance. Normally I just scowl at those stupidly small parking spots, but they are tailor made for cars like the Ignis, and with three kids in tow they are the equivalent of scoring VIP express check-in at the airport. I could get used to this.
With the kids to consider, safety is high on my wish list of considerations. As yet the Ignis has not been rated by ANCAP and only scored three out of five stars in Euro NCAP testing, which is a concern. Standard safety gear on the GLX includes six airbags with curtain and thorax bags for front row occupants, EBD, ABS and hill-hold assist.
Smallness is not a quality I normally prize in a car but a weekend with the Ignis had me happily changing my tune. If you're a driver who actively seeks out the best parking spot to minimise the distance required to walk, then this car is your ticket to parking nirvana.
Is the Ignis worthy of being called an SUV? Its tiny dimensions and four seats would suggest not. On the other hand, this car surprises with its smart use of cabin space, plucky performance and simplicity. Combined with its sharp pricing and quirky styling, it makes for a compelling package and a worthy alternative in the small-SUV category.
|GL||1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$11,884 – 15,990||2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GL Pricing and Specs|
|GL (QLD)||1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$9,130 – 12,870||2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GL (QLD) Pricing and Specs|
|GLX||1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$12,494 – 15,999||2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GLX Pricing and Specs|
|GLX (QLD)||1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$11,110 – 15,290||2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GLX (QLD) Pricing and Specs|